Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episodes 8-10

Score Technician: Alex Pearlstein

Episodes 5-7 kept the action going, as Matt continued to punch his way towards truth and justice, Kingpin Fisk manipulated damage control mode to consolidate his power in the underworld, and Foggy and Karen flailed around in the crossfire. How will episodes 8-10 shape up? Will the Nelson and Murdock team pin anything on Fisk? Will Karen and Foggy make with the smoochy smoochy? Will Fisk rip off anyone else’s body parts? And most importantly, will Senora Cardenas finally reveal her secret identity as Lady Bullseye? We can only watch with bated breath and hope.

Episode 8:
  • Wilson Fisk, proud owner of “Stucco Wall,” shittiest painting ever. = -3pts 
  • Fisk pays a child to stand in his walk-in closet, wear bloody clothes, and mirror his movements. = +12 pts 
  • Yes, Murdock, you’ll fight Union Allied using the legal process. That’ll happen. = -2pts 
  • D’onofrio has trouble controlling the volume and rhythm of his delivery. “YES, it’s PART of MY evil plan. I – wait, CUT! CUT. No, I’m not ACTING, I’m PASSING a KIDNEY stone!” = -3pts 
  • Matt’s e-braille reader is pretty cool. Available on Braille Skymall? = +5pts 
  • Yes, Bill Fisk, Sr., please? This is the Father of the Year Coffee Mug Company. We’d like our mug back. = +7pts 
  • We’d like to convince our neighborhood diner to start serving a dish we call Fisk’s Traditional Post-Nightmare Omelet. = +2pts 
  • Fisk: “AHA, Wesley, you’ve spent your CAREER translating for no reason. YOU may leave us.” = +6pts 
  • Fisk (flipping over table): “THANK YOU FOR THE MEETING, IT WENT very well.” = +3pts 
  • Fisk’s Mom, ready with plastic and duct tape, seems to have planned for this moment suspiciously well. = +7pts 
  • Ben to Matt on substantiating his allegations against Fisk: “So all you’ve got is what you’ve beaten out of people?” = +22pts 
  • We believe Vanessa loves Fisk because…because… = -5pts 
  • No one has ever heard of Fisk, and suddenly the city is like, “OH, WILSON Fisk. WE love Wilson FISK!” = -3pts 
  • Matt not getting beaten up for a whole episode. = +17pts
Episode 9:
  • Matt makes up for not getting beaten up last episode by getting really beaten up this episode. = +13pts 
  • Asking a priest to make you a latte, but not drinking it. = -5pts 
  • No one at any of the press conferences has asked Fisk who he is and what he does for a living. = -4pts 
  • We’re glad that at least Karen is keeping faith in the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. = +2pts 
  • Go, Senora Cardenas! Take on Wilson Fisk and his vast underworld connections! We’ve got your back. = -3pts 
  • Venessa, even a blind man is refusing to buy your paintings of angry walls. = +7pts 
  • Ya see, when poor neighborhood tenements is bought out by ritzy condos, that’s what we in the sociological lines of employment call a Fiskification. = +8pts 
  • Way to discourage homicide, Priest! Listen to the priest, Matt. = +2pts 
  • Nelson and Murdock have a better stocked pantry than most businesses where we’ve worked. = -5 pts 
  • Foggy and Karen, getting drunk in a bar, forget to take part in this episode. = -2pts 
  • Oh, Nobu, why did you choose to wear the highly flammable, tissue paper Ninja suit today? = +15pts 
  • And Fisk is super strong because he’s…large? Bald? What are we missing here? = -3pts 
  • Jumping into the Hudson with open wounds. = -1pt 
  • Calling 911 when you see a man lying half-dead on the ground. = +17pts 
  • Disconnecting 911 after you realize it’s your friend. = - 20pts
Episode 10:
  • Foggy’s reaction to Matt’s explanation of how he got beaten up: “A Ninja.” = +12pts 
  • Matt and Foggy backstory, college, lawyers, something, something…we tuned out here. = -2pts 
  • Gaollegories: stereotypical nuggets of wisdom dispensed by Gao. = -13pts 
  • Ben’s wife gives a touching pep talk. = +7pts 
  • Matt’s ability to hear individual heartbeats from across a room is still pretty cool. = +9pts 
  • Karen, the only employee of Nelson and Murdock to continue an actual investigation into Fisk’s past. = +15pts 
  • Karen: “Swim in shit and hope you don’t get too much in your mouth.” What? No, ew, Karen! No! = -8pts 
  • Stopping a child molester is a pretty good justification to begin using your super powers. = +23pts 
  • Fisk, silver-tongued host: “I THANK you and PLEASE ENJOY your EVENING.” Vanessa: “That was beautiful.” = +5pts 
  • Poisoning Vanessa. = +10pts (Nothing good can come of this.)
Total Score = +144pts
Season Score = +571pts

These episodes are where the Daredevil series slows down, padding out the action with backstory and self-analysis, which is probably ok if you’re familiar with the characters and are interested in a new interpretation of them. For a casual fan, though, the slow build of Matt becoming Daredevil can get a little tedious, and it’d be nice to see him start using his wits, as opposed to his usual pattern of punch, interrogate, get beaten, then punch again. We’re not too worried though, because if there’s any point in a series where it can afford to take its time, it’s the third quarter. We’re betting the final three episodes will action-packed, and if nothing else, reveal the classic red suit.

The PCS Daredevil Summer Reading List:

I’m new to Daredevil and the Marvel universe. There were probably tons of references in these episodes that I didn’t get – I hope I brought a fresh perspective without bending any hardcore fans out of shape. I’m playing catch-up, however, and I started last week with what turned out to be a great choice: the Waid/Rivera/Martin Daredevil Vol. 1.

I like that Waid’s focus is more on dare and less on the devil. In an interview at the end of the volume, the term "swashbuckling" is used, and that’s my favorite approach to superhero stories. I have a low threshold of patience for angsty characters – I’d rather have their emotional pain color the action of the plot instead of overwhelm it, which is what Waid accomplishes here. The past is hinted at, but it’s used as a tease to keep you engaged, not as an indulgence.

Issue one starts straight off with Daredevil using his superhuman abilities to outwit a superhuman villain. This is a nice contrast to the show, which is focused on naturalizing the process of Matt figuring out how to use his abilities to fight a more realistic type of criminal. In the comic, I love the imaginative way Rivera and Waid reintroduce you to Daredevil’s abilities, first through combat, but then also through his everyday interactions. One nice example is the full-page spread showing Matt walking down the street, as he picks out and interprets information from the sensory overload of New York. His later encounter with the sonic henchmen of Klaw is also a fantastically creative instance of the type of phantasmic fuckery I’d like to see more of in the show.

It’s been a fun experience, immersing myself in Daredevil’s territory. My main thought so far is that I’ll be spending a lot of time on the couch this summer, watching less TV, and reading more comics.


  1. I have bad news for you concerning the reveal of the red suit and wILTon FIskS denouement.

    Worst. Last. Episode. Ever.

    It didn't help that their terrible villain was really only terrible. And his grand plan, unifying the various underworlds of New York, was gentrification.

  2. I've had a chance to watch through to the last episode, and I don't recall being disappointed so much as I don't...recall...what happened. I do recall enjoying the opportunity to eat popcorn and fall asleep on the couch. By that standard, I'm pretty easily entertained.

    I do want to read more of the comics. Was it the Frank Miller series you grew up reading?

    1. I'm eager to see what the nanobots say about the last three episodes, because my feelings (this is Joe here) were mixed. I'd give a hearty endorsement to the Miller run. Since you're just becoming initiated (or re-initiated) into the world of comics, I'd suggest starting with The Man without Fear or Born Again, as these are both self-contained and feature some of Miller's most mature prose. His regular run on the series (which encompassed about two years with him writing and drawing, I believe) is more comic-booky, but incredible and ground-breaking in a lot of ways (The DD/Bullseye stuff is all so, so good). Miller does introduce an angstier Daredevil, though, so that might not be your cup of tea.

    2. Cool, I'll check those out. I think it might actually be TV that I have less patience for, where you're forced to passively watch people do a lot of brooding, whereas comics are much more creative visual representations that demand active interpretation.